In 1986, my husband and I had the great blessing of going on Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Though Jerusalem was much less crowded 30 years ago, still, the Stations of the Cross on the way to the site of Christ’s crucifixion and entombment took us through a very crowded, bustling, noisy Arab market. Carcasses of animals hanging at outdoor butcher shops, storekeepers shouting for attention, children running in and out of the crowds, all manner of goods for sale on both sides of the street. An exotic to us, but not-unusual scene of worldly commerce.
Then we arrived at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which includes the site where Jesus was crucified, Calvary, and the site he was entombed afterwards. In the middle of one of the most intense locales in the world, we entered a place of memorable Peace and Light. As we sat in meditation in each of the sacred places in the Church, we felt the blessings of a Messenger of God.
Two thousand years of strife and commerce all around had not diminished the reality of His presence. The Indian scriptures say, “One moment in the company of a saint is your raft across the ocean of delusion.” Surrounded as we were by an ocean of delusion, Jesus had walked that site, had been crucified there, had lain there — the holiness lived on and could bless each one of us two thousand years later.
Today, I sometimes meditate on the memory of being there, and on the awe I feel that the avatar of God has the power to penetrate oceans of delusion to continue to bless us now. I am always touched by the fact that Easter morning and Christmas morning have a tangible light, peace, and joy.
Daily life can seem so real and demanding. People are so busy. Yet, the blessings of Jesus, of Yogananda, of all great saints are real and alive every moment. As Yogananda promised often: “To those who think me near, I will be near,” so Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” When Life seems too real, too challenging, we need to remember what is MORE real. The peace of God that passeth all understanding. The presence and blessing of the avatars.